Modern pro wrestling fans seem to be at a bit of an impasse, where collectively they can't decide on what makes the modern pro wrestling show great: athletes that can do amazing things in the ring or a big spectacle that has top-notch production value. It's obviously the wonderful balance of both that has created our greatest wrestling memories over the years (especially on pay-per-view). When a company can find that balance, it really is a spectacle that can't be compared to any other form of entertainment. But when that balance is off, oh boy. AEW put on their big pay-per-view show, Revolution, last night, and while it was an overall entertaining wrestling event, it also showed that the company still has a ways to go before they master their presentation. There were notable instances throughout the broadcast, but they saved the best (worst?) for last and ended the show with a production fail that will live in smark's minds for the foreseeable future.
AEW has done an admirable job measuring up to WWE in terms of talent, budget, and the grind that is a weekly live televised wrestling show on a major network. They've covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time, and you can see the improvements from when they first launched in 2019. Some of this is due to the seemingly endless budget they operate with, but a lot of it is really due to trial and error. This is where WWE has the advantage that can't be met. They've been putting on Hollywood-worthy productions for almost 40 years now, and the staff and crews they employ are second to none. Has it always been flawless? Nope! But that's what doing something for a long time credits you with experience. And the experience is second to no budget.
The big main event to AEW's show last night was an exploding barbed wire deathmatch between AEW champion Kenny Omega and former champion Jon Moxley. If you're familiar with this particular match's history, you know it's a gruesome display with blood, burns, and to top it all off, the ring explodes at the end. At least it's supposed to. But back to the match itself, Omega and Moxley didn't disappoint. The two beat the living hell out of each other for 30 minutes and shed their blood all over the ring and the surrounding area. It was intense; it was gripping; it was everything you could want from a hardcore wrestling match. And then the ring was supposed to explode in a spectacular finish… but what we got instead was a fireworks display that a local high school football game would be embarrassed to put on. Now to give you a sense of what fans expected and were promised, here's how a past exploding barbed wire deathmatch ended in Japan:
And another one:
And here's how it looked in AEW:
It was a dud of a visual no matter what you were expecting. And wrestling Twitter's peanuts gallery was seemingly working through the night to let everyone know what they thought of it.
So will AEW survive the embarrassment of this? Of course! And they will be better for it too. WWE has more laughable and embarrassing moments throughout its history than anyone (just search Hulk Hogan on Youtube and start there), and it's because they've goofed up so many times that they're still so dominant today. Mistakes are the greatest learning experience in the world, and AEW is still young and getting stuff figured out. Last night they learned that just because you can afford to buy the car doesn't mean you know how to drive it. WWE would never have done a stunt like that without having first pre-visualizing it all digitally, storyboarding how it would be shot, rigging it accordingly, bringing in a Hollywood pyro crew, and rehearsing it over and over for two days prior until it was up to standards. And now AEW will do those things too so that this won't happen again. At least, hopefully, they will. Mistakes can be a gift, as long as you learn from them.